A New Zealand man thought his ear was clogged with water after taking a swim but after three days with no relief, a doctor discovered something far more creepy and crawly inside.
Zane Wedding, 40, from South Auckland, New Zealand, said he got home from swimming on the evening of Jan. 7 with a blocked ear and decided to remedy it with some swimmer’s ear drops. But after falling asleep and waking up still feeling "immense pressure" in his left ear, Wedding started to get worried.
"After a day of swimming, I fell asleep on the couch. I actually had blocked ears from swimming and I cleared them out with some swimmer’s drops. Fell asleep on the couch and in the middle of the night I just woke up with this immense pressure on my left ear. And I just assumed that it was water again so I put some drops in, I shook my head out and I ended up going back to sleep and waking up in the morning and it was just like no reprieve at all," Wedding told FOX TV Stations.
So Wedding took a trip to the doctor’s office.
When he arrived, the doctor observed Wedding’s ear and concluded the blockage he was experiencing was simply some dead skin cells and advised he dry out the inside of his ear with a hairdryer which should eventually clear out his ear canal.
Despite blow-drying his ear as suggested, Wedding still felt discomfort and even experienced dizziness, so he decided to contact an ear, nose and throat specialist.
During his visit, Wedding said the specialist took one look into his ear and was shocked at what she found.
"Oh my God," Wedding said the specialist exclaimed.
Wedding’s first reaction was that he had a brain tumor visible from inside his ear, but it was something less threatening and a tad grosser.
"And at that time I was like, ‘What?’ and she said, ‘I think you’ve got a cockroach in your ear,’" Wedding said.
Dead cockroach extracted from Zane Wedding’s ear.
As soon as the doctor told Wedding what the source of his discomfort was over the past few days, everything clicked.
Wedding said the first night he woke up and felt the pressure in his ear, that’s when he suspected the cockroach first crawled in. After he blow-dried his ear at the advice of the first doctor he visited, he suspected the contents moving around inside his was the cockroach being "cooked" alive.
"And blowing hot air in there and when it was moving so much, I was like, I was cooking it. It was moving its legs around beating up against my eardrum," Wedding said.
It took about five minutes to extract the dead cockroach and Wedding said as soon as the doctor pulled out the insect, he felt instant relief.
"We were shocked," Wedding said. "That’s a whole cockroach."
Once the critter was out of Wedding’s ear, the doctor said she would have to inspect for any leftover legs or even eggs.
Luckily for Wedding, no eggs or additional legs were found inside his ear.
The doctor offered Wedding the dead cockroach as a souvenir but Wedding told her to keep it since it was her first extraction of this type.
Cockroaches crawling into people’s ears is uncommon, however, they are the most common type of bug that crawl into human orifices. Earwax is made up of fatty acids and volatile lipids which are a cockroach's favorite treat, according to Prof. Chow-Yang Lee of the Department of Entomology at the University of California.
"A study published in South Africa in 2006 found that cockroaches are the most common arthropods that get into human ears. Generally, they are drawn into the ears when they are foraging for food. They likely enter the ear to feed on the ear wax," Lee told FOX TV Stations.
Moreover, cockroaches love dark and damp environments and ears are the perfect spot for these insects, according to Dr. Coby Schal from the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University.
Once the cockroach is drawn into the ear, it may become stuck or possibly die while inside the ear canal, Lee added.
To prevent another incident like this from happening again, Wedding said exterminators have been called to flush out any would-be ear invaders from his home.
"Everyone's afraid to fall asleep on the couch now," Wedding said with a chuckle. "It’ll be a weekend I’ll never forget."